EC taxi strike hits EFF as truck full of party T-shirts is looted

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has cried foul after a truck carrying party T-shirts was looted.

The plundering saw the EFF in the Eastern Cape’s OR Tambo region be among those affected by the taxi strike that occurred in Mthatha on Monday.

This came after a vehicle transporting voter rolls and T-shirts for EFF volunteers in the Eastern Cape was attacked and looted in Mthatha as a result of the taxi violence and protests.


EFF T-shirts seen in a wheelbarrow after being caught in the ongoing taxi violence in Mthatha // Picture: X

EFF provincial chairperson Zilindile Vena confirmed the incident. He said the looting will impede them as a political party from conducting their electoral duties honestly and freely, undermining democracy.

“We are aware that the protests have led to the closure of a total of 455 voting districts. These are in the OR Region’s Local Municipalities of Port St Johns, King Sabata Dalindyebo, and Nyandeni.”

Police not doing their job

Vena added that the EFF is concerned that the police are unable to protect people, volunteers and materials for Election Day.

“The inability of the SAPS to enforce law and order is now affecting elections. The truck that was meant to deliver voters’ rolls and T-shirts for EFF volunteers in the Eastern Cape has now been looted in Mthatha due to taxi violence and protests. The [EFF] is greatly concerned about the protests happening in the OR Tambo Region of the Eastern Cape,” Vena added.

He said they are in constant engagement with the police. They have pleaded that they must do everything in their power to protect the elections.

“South Africa’s security forces must do everything in their power to safeguard the integrity of the elections. The current developments are a cause for concern.”


Meanwhile, 73 FET colleges were grounded and approximately 10,877 Grade 12 learners from the region could not write their mid-terms examinations.

Mesuli Ngqondwana, mayor of OR Tambo District Municipality, sent out a call for calm and safety in and around Mthatha.

Mayor calls for  calm

“Authorities are doing their best to facilitate a discussion. This is aimed at resolving the matter without further harm to property and persons. I implore all residents to exercise caution during this period. [We urge them] to be vigilant against any potential threats to their safety,” said Ngqondwana.

According to a statement on the SANDF’s Facebook account, the security around the airport was beefed up. The 14 South African Infantry Battalion forming part of Operation Prosper was tasked with securing the airport. This was in response to the unrest, it said. 
 
“[The battalion worked under the command of Acting Officer Commanding, Major Andile Livingstone Binza. [It] purposefully worked to restore order and protect the facility from damage.
 
“Among those affected by the airport closure were members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu). [They were] from a Soshanguve branch in Pretoria,” read the statement.
 
Sadtu members caught in the mayhem
 
“The union members, returning from a meeting, found themselves stranded in Mthatha. They had no immediate means of continuing their journey or securing accommodation.
 
“Recognising the plight of the stranded Sadtu members, Major Binza took decisive action. Demonstrating exceptional leadership and compassion, he arranged for them to be accommodated and provided with food in his unit. This act of kindness … addressed an immediate humanitarian need. It also helped to ease tensions in an already volatile situation,” read the SANDF statement.
 
“The incident at Mthatha Airport, in particular, highlights the critical role of security forces in maintaining order during times of civil unrest. The actions of Major Binza and his battalion serve as a reminder of the importance of empathy. Also proactive leadership in managing crises.
 
“As the election date draws near, all eyes will be on South Africa to see how it navigates this critical juncture in its democratic journey,” said the SANDF.
 

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